making local government more ethical

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Robert Wechsler
When Is a Confidentiality Waiver Not a Confidentiality Waiver?
It is common for ethics codes to allow respondents in ethics proceedings to waive confidentiality and make the proceeding public. This is what South Carolina governor Mark Sanford did, according to an article in The State back in August.

"Sanford said a...

Robert Wechsler
Update: June 29, 2010 (see below)

I thought I would never write about anything concerning Gov. Sarah Palin again, but the report on an ethics complaint against her, regarding the fund created to pay the legal expenses from her defense against prior ethics complaints, is too interesting and valuable to ignore.

The report (attached; see below) deals with two provisions that appear in most local government ethics codes:  misuse of office and gifts. The report's...
Robert Wechsler
I don't like seeing conflicts of interest discussed improperly in the context of an election. Elections are a good time to educate the public about issues, but when government ethics is used for partisan purposes, it undermines both the public's understanding and their trust in elected officials.

Robert Wechsler
Ethics Reform Usually Means Ethics Changes
While most people in Massachusetts are cheering on the ethics reform package that was just passed, at least one state representative has focused on the compromises and limitations of the package, calling it a first step. Most responses to scandals are partial rather than changing the entire environment, and in her excellent ...
Robert Wechsler
It is common for mayors and council members to take volunteer positions on the boards of community nonprofits. Sometimes it's primarily honorific, but sometimes it shows a special commitment to a particular program or project, and sometimes it involves a leadership position. Such a position can create real or apparent conflicts of interest.

Robert Wechsler
How does a council deal with conflicts in a company town? My first response to this would be, are there still company towns? Well, certainly not as many as there used to be, but probably most of the ones that remain are college towns.